All the gear but no idea? Don’t fret! London-based yoga teacher Annie Clarke shares six simple yoga stretches that are accessible to beginners (ahem – just like us).
Words: Annie Clarke (in partnership with Pocket Sport)
Starting the day with even a few minutes of yoga can have huge benefits on the body and mind. It can also be a little easier to practice in the mornings before the mind gets distracted by those pesky ‘to do’ lists!
First thing in the morning, the connective tissues of the body can be quite tight, so practicing yoga is a good way to loosen up the muscles and resolve patterns of tension that we develop in our day to day lives. It also serves the mind well, giving us the opportunity to tune in and start the day with clarity and connection.
Annie sleeps in Linen in Moss and is wearing the Dusky Blue sweater from Pocket Sport
The benefits are so much more than what we experience physically, and yoga really supports us in the way in which we live life beyond the mat. Whether you’re looking to wind down after a busy day, set yourself up for the day ahead or shift your energy throughout the day, there are lots of different ways to practice yoga.
Before we get started…
Beginners, keep it simple. Don't worry about what you look like and always begin with your breath. If you find you are holding your breath to get into a pose you are probably doing more harm than good.
It's much more important to slow down, focus on breathing, have an easy breath and gently explore different poses. Remember there isn't an end goal, so there is no need to push. It helps to have a good mat with grip too to help you build strength without sliding around.
Child’s Pose - Balasana
Sit back on your heels with your knees around hip-width apart. Extend your arms out and lower your forehead towards the floor. You can place a block under your hips or your forehead if either are a long way from the floor.
Low Lunge - Anjaneyasana
You can come into this from a downward dog, or from the hands and knees. Step the right foot forward and untuck your back toes so the top of the foot is on the floor.
Engage the inner thighs and draw the left hip forward to stretch through the front of the thigh. Keep lifting from behind the heart so you're not collapsing into your lower back.
You can reach the arms up or rest them on the front thigh, keeping the shoulders rolled back and the chest lifted. Repeat on the other side.
Side Bend - Parsva Bhanghi
Stand with your feet together or hip-width apart. Reach the arms over your head and interlace the fingers, turning the palms to the sky.
Root through the feet and stretch up, then lean your hips to the right and your upper body to the left. Keep lengthening both sides of the waist. Repeat on the other side.
Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Reach to make sure you can touch your heels with your fingertips and keep your knees over your ankles.
Push down into the hands and feet, engaging your glutes to lift the back of the body from the floor until you are resting on your shoulders. Either keep the palms flat or interlace them behind your back to your chest.
Reclined Twist - Supta Matsyendrasana
Extend the legs onto the mat, then hug your right knee into your chest. Shift your hips slightly to the right, then drawer the knee across to the left side.
You can extend your right arm out to the right and look over either shoulder, depending on how your neck feels. Repeat on the other side, remembering to take your hips to the left.
Easy Pose With Breathing - Sukhasana
Come to a crossed-leg seat. Place something under the sitting bones to help lengthen the spine. Count to four on the inhale and eight on the exhale. Continue to breathe in this way for a few minutes.
About our friends at Pocket Sport
Pocket is here to big you up for moving – be that a Saturday morning stretch or a gentle stroll around the block – because life is a workout. They make clothes for moving in, that feel just as good to wear when you're winding down as well. The type of active wear that gets you through the busiest days, and the rest days too.
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